You’d better believe it when we say that the delivery industry is one of the sexiest and most forward-thinking around. It’s no wonder that we at SoPick are a part of this exciting time for the industry, a time when the older and slower “traditional” companies are being replaced by technology-driven and forward-thinking companies focused on what deliveries of the future will bring.
As more and more people shop online, and as the world gets smaller in terms of supply chain, deliveries are becoming all the more important. This has come at a time when big data is being gathered on a scale never seen before, and technology is being used to revolutionize whole industries.
We’ve taken a look at some of the big things happening in the delivery industry, and what exciting changes the not-too-distant future may bring.
Amazon’s fantastic flying warehouse
A small wave was created when Geekwire spotted an Amazon patent that involves affixing parachutes to products, to make drone deliveries safer and more efficient. That was nothing compared to their flying warehouses that will send drones to your door. This fantastical patent filed by the internet giants describes “urban fulfillment centers” that will hold inventory and be placed in optimal locations. Much like a beehive, drones will autonomously arrive, load up, and deliver in an endless loop. And food deliveries? Not a problem! Temperature controlled models are already being planned.
The filing gave an example of a large sporting event. A flying warehouse will be stationed nearby stocked with snacks and merchandise, ready to make seamless deliveries to fans below. The patent even went so far as to cover specialized shuttles, advertising, and a connected network that allows all the various components to communicate with one another in real time.
Amazon certainly have an eye on the future, as their recent Amazon Go concept showed. For those that need reminding, Amazon Go “is a new kind of store with no checkout required. We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout”. They even add a “No, seriously” for good measure.
There was a time when people didn’t believe that Amazon Dash buttons would become a reality. Perhaps flying warehouses are closer than many may think.
Sticking with Amazon and their futuristic patents, another forward-thinking idea they have is a variation on the traditional warehouse. Instead of large, single-story warehouses that are traditionally used in the industry, they envision huge, vertical, beehive-shaped drone centers located in major cities. They call these “multi-level fulfillment centers” and would accommodate thousands of orders every day.
Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, has successfully trialled robotic deliveries, partnering with Starship Technologies. The robot, equipped with cameras and sensors, can climb curbs and even work in snow. The company also conducted trials with Postmates in Washington, D.C., and DoorDash in Redwood City, California.
The world of autonomous trucks has been getting a lot of exposure recently. Indeed, the likes of Tesla, Google and Uber have all thrown their hats in the ring in a bid to become market leaders in this exciting space. What people often forget, is that almost every item we order online has spent time on the back of a massive truck, driven by one of the 1.7 million truck drivers in the US. Environmental activists have long been calling out the industry for high emissions, and the industry is plagued by safety issues, high turnover and low wages.
So it’s natural that this is an industry crying out for a technology-led change. Tesla of course has focused on an electric truck prototype. Alphabet-owned Waymo is duking it out in court with Uber, who purchased autonomous driving tech company Otto. Starsky robotics is one of the companies offering after-market autonomization retrofit kits, Volvo and Mercedes have entered the race, and of course Amazon is developing their own solution.
The driving itself isn’t the only area where the trucking industry is developing. Nikola Motor Company hopes to introduce hydrogen-powered trucks, Embark plans to assist drivers on long drives, and there are many other exciting companies all looking at this high-potential industry.
The other side of Coin
There are of course other sides to the story. Many critics believe that Amazon’s ideas are not practical, and are being used to garner free publicity. Similarly, Starship’s robots have a long way to go before they are actually feasible in the real world. They currently have to be accompanied by handlers, and there are concerns over injuries to passers-by, theft, and many other issues.
Similar issues are being faced by the trucking industry; battery technology, regulations, and other limitations are tempering expectations.
An Eye on the Future
At SoPick, we side with the thinkers of tomorrow. Sure, massive flying warehouses might not happen tomorrow, but without expanding our horizons and pushing the boundaries, we as a society would never innovate and improve.
Our tech-focused, people-centered solution allows full integration across all your favorite devices, and lets you order, track, and deliver seamlessly. Anyone can order a pick-up, and everyone can be a SoPick courier. It’s about convenience, speed, ease-of-use and peace-of-mind.
As a technology company focused on revolutionizing the world of deliveries, we believe that we’re perfectly placed to take this industry forward; not just tomorrow, but today.